Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for AP U.S. Government (page 4)

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Updated on Mar 4, 2011

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action is a policy designed to correct the effects of past discrimination. Most issues of affirmative action are race or gender based. In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke that the affirmative action quotas used by the University of California in their admissions policies were unconstitutional, and that Bakke had been denied equal protection because the university used race as the sole criterion for admissions. In the more recent Hopwood v. Texas (1996) the Court struck down the University of Texas Law School's admissions program, stating that race could not be used as a factor in deciding which applicants to admit to achieve student body diversity, to prevent a hostile environment at the law school, to counteract the law school's reputation among minorities, or to end the effects of past discrimination by institutions other than the law school. In 2003 the Supreme Court ruled that universities within the jurisdiction of the Fifth Circuit can use race as a factor in admissions as long as quotas are not used. In recent court decisions the court seems to be taking a more conservative view of affirmative action programs and many fear that affirmative action is on the decline.

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